According to the Associated Press, Keith Cooper has negotiated a $7.5 million settlement with a northern Indiana community and former police officers after being falsely convicted of an armed robbery. Cooper’s attorney, Elliot Slosar, says the payment is the highest in Indiana history for a wrongful conviction.
Cooper was wrongfully convicted in a 1996 robbery in Elkhart, Indiana, that resulted in the shooting and wounding of a teenager. Cooper was sentenced to 40 years in jail for the heist, but DNA testing and a countrywide offender database determined that he was not engaged in the crime, according to the Associated Press. The attacker was identified as someone else.
Cooper was granted clemency in February 2017. Elkhart’s director of communications, Corinne Straight, said the $7.5 million settlement “brings to a closure the apparent injustice that has been given to Mr. Cooper.”
“On behalf of the entire city of Elkhart, to Mr. Cooper and his family, we regret the suffering you have experienced,” she said in a statement.
Cooper was a married father of three who worked two jobs at the time of his arrest. According to the legal lawsuit he filed against the city, its then-police chief, and three police officers, his family had to sell their goods and live in shelters to survive after his detention.
Cooper’s attorney, Slosar, claimed that Cooper’s case “revealed the systemic pattern of police and prosecutorial corruption that exists in Elkhart, Indiana.”
Cooper, 54, now expects that the compensation “will help me and my family establish a better tomorrow.”
“No amount of money can make up for the time I’ve lost,” he stated.